I can't think of a clever title, so this'll do
Trip Start Dec 12, 2008
28Trip End ??? ??, 2010
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Where I stayed
Since our last entry, we have had international visitors, bought cars, moved house, found jobs, severly injured ourselves, quit jobs, found better jobs and even got to see a few sights in between!
So let's start from the start.
Not long after we arrived and settled in to Sue and Mike's lovely house, we were hot on the hunt for jobs. As luck would have it, the news soon told us that parts of Birmingham were at 10% unemployment due to that infernal 'R' word that everyone gets in a frenzy about. I had quickly secured a placement with a relief teaching agency but needed some work to fill in the school holidays. As fortune has it, English people seem to like to drink alot and the amount of pubs that were in walking distance was phenomenal. Within about 2 weeks I had a job working 60+ hours in a pub called the Shoulder of Mutton. I was getting paid £5/hr and working from 11am until midnight 5 days a week. The pub was absolutely horrible and although English people do not know this term, the word 'bogan' quickly sprang to mind. The majority of our customers did not work and spent what little money they had at the pub. It was due to these crazy hours that I managed to completely wreck my back bending over and spent over a week in bed. My spirits were lifted when we had a very lovely couple by the name of Grandma and Grandad come and stay overnight. Whilst I wasn't able to go out and see the sights with them, it was really good to see some familar faces and eat Anthea's special Spagetti and meatballs.
So it wasn't long before I was back at work and Anthea had secured some interviews. Several of the jobs were part time, but anything was going to be better than nothing. Amazingly, within a week of the interviews, she was offered BOTH of the part time jobs. As luck would have it, she even managed to swap some times around, meaning she is now working full time, with 50% as a data analyst for the National Health Service and 50% as the membership officer for the National Governors Association (the association behind school governors).
So after all this complaining we have done on this blog about this and that, things finally started to go our way.
We soon bought a rocket of a car in the form of a 1997 2 door Ford Fiesta, which doesn't quite shine as much as I would like but still gets us from A to B and back again. Although ashamedly our first stop was Macdonalds drive-thru, our first real trip in the car was to move house.
Our new house is a lovely 1 bedroom flat on the top of a 3 story complex that has been completely redone from the inside out. All our appliances, furniture and paint is brand new and it's in one of the nicest areas in Birmingham. For those of you wanting to contact us the old-fashioned way, our new address is:
100 Ferncliffe Rd,
B17 0QH <-- that's a zero.
It was about now that the school holidays were over and whilst the relief jobs were slow to start with, I was able to (a bit too excitedly) quit my job at the pub. I will say, the patrons and staff did give me a nice send off and they did seem genuinely upset to see me leave. Here I was thinking that £2 pints of beer was all they cared about.
I was soon in schools, doing what I enjoy (yelling at kids) and Anthea was enjoying both of her jobs, if not one a little more than the other. So, it was finally time to go and see what England has to offer!!
First stop... Africa Well, not quite. We thought it would be a bit of a laugh to go to the West Midlands Drive Through Safari Park, about 45 minutes drive from here. The day was great fun and well laid out, meaning we got to get really close up to all the usual assortment of animals and even got to feed some girraffes, deer and some sort of giant bovine-esque creature. (I guess it would be called a Buffalo). I offered to feed the Lions too, but Anthea (spoilt-sport) seemed to think she might need her left leg at some point in the future... ?
Our next free weekend was spent enjoying the sights sounds and tastes that Birmingham's nightlife has to offer and without going in to too much detail, it was good fun. Unfortunately that meant the rest of the weekend was written off due to a slow recovery.
the next road trip on the agenda was a drive to Worcester, home of worcestershine sauce. It's a lovely hours drive from home and is a very beautiful country town (even though it's now a city) Worcester Cathedral is the main attraction and we spent hours exploring it. The highlight was the view from the top of the tower, whilst the lowlight was climbing to get there. We also visited a 550 year old friar's house that has been done out inside to look original.
As no trip is without it's flaws, we managed to forget the camera and as such, are pictureless (as opposed to picturesque). I'm sure we will go back to Worcester in the nearish future and will make sure some piccies will be taken then.
Finally (because I'm sure you're all bored now) we took a weekend away to the East midlands to visit Anthea's family's hometown. We stayed with a family friend who has lived in the same house all his 60-something years. Anthea's grandfather was the local librarian for many years and started Ilkeston's own museum. He's quite famous around these parts and Anthea's new name in Ilkeston is "Cyril Hargreaves' grand-daughter"
Whilst in Ilkeston, we made our way to the Ilkeston fair - one of the oldest street fairs in England (it's been running for 800 years!) and is also the biggest street fair in Europe. I'm not quite sure what we were expecting, but it was just full of side-show games and overpriced rides which put a bit of a dampener on the whole experience.
The atmosphere was great though and it really was huge, to the point where they errect a whole rollercoaster just for the 4 days that the fair runs.
On Saturday, we bussed the half-hour from Ilkeston to Nottingham and spent the afternoon visiting Robin Hood's town. Due to a festival being held within the castle grounds, we didn't go in but we walked around the outer wall of the castle and visited the oldest inn in England (built in 1189AD!) which is built right in to the cliff-face around the bottom of the castle. We took some photos with Robin Hood's statue and wandered around some of the older parts of town. We will probably go back to Nottingham at some point to take some of the more detailed tours within the castle and also a fantastic looking tour of the old court-house and jail.
So there you have it, a short essay about the life and times of Anthea and Dan circa July-October.
The next few months are going to be exciting as we have got more Aussies rocking up on our doorstep and we will hopefully be visiting some more nice places.
Can't wait to hear back from everyone, let us know what you're up to, but please no bragging about how the weather is getting better. We don't need to know!!
Dan. (& Anthea, she's at work though)